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Innovation First: How Oshkosh Corp.’s 107 Years of Experience Deliver Innovative Solutions

Oshkosh Corp. manufactures a wide array of purpose-built vehicles and equipment, but at its heart, it’s an industrial technology company focused on engineering, President and CEO John Pfeifer told the NAM recently.

“If you look at us up close, we’re really an engineering company,” Pfeifer said. “If you look at a fire truck up close, you’d be amazed at the amount of design engineering [that goes into] to this machine.”

A fire truck boom: Fire trucks are indeed a big part of business at the 107-year-old company, headquartered in its namesake Oshkosh, Wisconsin. In fact, there’s such a demand for the vehicles—which Oshkosh offers in more than 300 different shades of red—from municipalities throughout the U.S., the firm has a two-and-a-half-year backlog.

  • The major reason: rising home values. Counties and towns get their revenue from property tax receipts. When those are strong, as they have been in recent years, the governments can afford to upgrade their fleets—which they’re now doing in earnest, Pfeifer said.

Innovation = safety + productivity: They’re going to Oshkosh for the very reason Pfeifer considers the company first and foremost an engineering outfit. In addition to fire and other municipal and vocational trucks, the company manufactures defense, construction and aviation ground support equipment.

  • “We’re able to accelerate innovation because of our technical capabilities as a company,” he explained. “We’re able to electrify things that are not supposed to be electrical—like a 40,000-pound municipal fire truck.”
  • Worldwide, Oshkosh employs a team of between 1,600 and 1,700 engineers just for design work, according to Pfeifer.
  • In any product it makes, Oshkosh’s primary concern is improving the safety and productivity of “the everyday heroes who do the hardest work. Military, firefighters, mail carriers—those are the people who use our products, and that’s why innovation matters. Our products allow them to be more productive and a lot safer.”

Read the full story here.

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